The Printed Fabric Bee Begins Anew in 2016

This week I want to direct readers to the “reboot” of The Printed Fabric Bee. Instead of monthly fabric collections created for the Bee members (with 6″ x 6″ swatches as a prize for randomly drawn readers who left comments), for 2016 members of the Bee will each take a turn hosting a month. For their month they will pick a theme and post several surface design tutorials, and conduct a fabulous giveaway too. (Mark your calendar: I will be April!) This reboot will mean a year of free classes from national and internationally known surface design artists and teachers!

Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects by Julie B. Booth

Julie B. Booth is January’s featured Bee artist, and she has chosen Kitchen Resists as her theme. Last year Julie wrote Fabric Printing at Home: Quick and Easy Fabric Design Using Fresh Produce and Found Objects, and it is an amazing book! You can read my review of it on this blog.

Julie has published two postings to The Printed Fabric Bee so far:

Judy Gula fabric created in Julie Booth’s class using dishwashing liquid as a resist

Above is a piece I created in Julie’s 2-day class here at Artistic Artifacts (more on that below) using dishwashing liquid as a resist. In Kitchen Resists #1: Rubbings with Liquid Dishwashing Soap, Julie teaches you to place texture plates under your fabric and then roll liquid dishwashing soap over the fabric to pick up the texture designs. I grabbed one of her photos (below) to illustrate:

Image from Kitchen Resists #1: Rubbings with Liquid Dishwashing Soap by Julie B. Booth

Julie prefers to make my own texture plates by applying hot glue on recycled cardboard, which is the subject of an article by her in the current issue of Quilting Arts magazine (see below).

Julie B. Booth is featured in the February/March 2016 issue of Quilting Arts

Below is my hot glue/cardboard printing plate design, again created in her class last year:

Printed fabric created by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Julie points out that you can also use commercial texture plates…I’m going to have to try this technique with some of the rubbing plate designs from Cedar Canyon Textiles!

To anyone who has an interest in surface design: register yourself for Fabric Printing at Home: A Kitchen Sampler on Saturday, March 12 and Sunday, March 13 here at Artistic Artifacts. Want to know more? I shared in some of the fun of learning from Julie my posting for the Fabric Printing at Home Blog Tour last year (I was Day 6).

You will learn how to use a huge variety of materials to create amazing prints, plus on Day 2 Julie will guide you through hand-stitching your fabrics into a wonderful piece of art. I can’t recommend it enough: this class is inspiring, energizing and so much fun!

Carved vegetable print created in class with Julie B. Booth

As before, you must comment each month to win. Julie’s wonderful giveaway is a copy of her amazing book and one yard of Prepared for Dyeing (PFD) cotton* — meaning the winner has a great start on creating their own custom printed fabric!

To be eligible to win, comment on at least one of her posts published during January at The Printed Fabric Bee. Julie will select a winner on Sunday, January 31.

* Note: we stock Kona® 100% cotton PFD, 44" in our shop too, as well as 58" wide.

Create a Composition Book Cover!

I wanted to share a quick book cover tutorial with you.

Swatch of Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth

I find composition books ugly, but plentiful and cheap. My goal was to create an attractive book cover where I can easily pull out a filled-in notebook and replace it with a fresh one. I believe that composition books will be around for years into the future, so it’s a reliable resource.

I used Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth (MPC) in this project. I’ve often remarked on this versatile product on this blog — it can be used whenever you would use canvas: easy to cut (doesn’t fray) and sew, soft, flexible and already prepared to accept paint or mediums.

The first step: measure and cut a piece of MPC the size of the book cover, including inside sleeves. The composition book I used was approximately 9.5 in. tall x 7.25 in. wide (closed), so for this book I used a 24 in. wide strip that was 10½” tall. This measurement was approximately an inch taller than my book, which is approximately 14.5 in. wide when opened.

Painted strip of Roc-lon Multi Purpose Cloth, the inside of the book cover

Next, paint one side of the MPC with your choice of acrylic paint(s) — I chose shades of tomato red (above). This painted side will be the inside of the cover.

I choose Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 as my fusible for this project (instead of the Mistyfuse I so often recommend to you) because Steam-A-Seam is sticky: you can put your fabric in place, but can move your design around because the adhesive is repositionable before fusing it permanently.

Your Steam-A-Steam needs to be the same size of your MPC. I had sheets of Steam-A-Seam in my stash, so I needed to butt two sheets together for this project, but this product is also available by the yard so you could easily match the length you’d need for this project. (Note that there is additional information from a previous blog posting on working with Steam A Seam 2.)

Fusing fabric strips and selvedges to Lite Steam-A-Seam 2

I have long collected the selvedges from my fabrics rather than discarding them. I love the writing, number and circle color codes on them! I used a lot in this project, but did intersperse colorful strips of fabric too (above). Remember that you can use paper with Steam-A-Seam too…and your design doesn’t have to be in strips as mine is: let your imagination run wild.

Once you have covered your Steam-A-Seam with your fabric (or paper), then fuse it to the unpainted side of the MPC with your iron (follow the instructions included in the Steam-A-Seam packet.

Fused MPC before trimming and creating the sleeves

Above is where we are with the project so far. As you can see I didn’t worry too much over measuring my fabric strips ahead of time; simply used my rotary cutter and ruler to trim the edges even.

Once my cover was trimmed, I took it to my sewing machine to use some of my “fancy” machine stitches to embellish it further (detail below).

Using various decorative machine stitches to embellish the book cover

The MPC has a sturdy weight to it and the fusing holds it all together, so stitching isn’t necessary — and leaving it out makes this an even quicker project! But I love the decorative touch it adds.

Folding and sewing down the sleeves to hold the composition book in place

To create the sleeves, place your composition book, opened, in the middle of your collaged MPC (painted side up). Then fold your extra width over each side. You can crease the MPC to mark it or clip it down as desired. Then slide the book out. I top-stitched each sleeve down at each end with a straight stitch on the right side.

Adding extra strips to the inside to use for bookmarks

For an extra touch, I tacked down two extra selvedge strips with zig zag stitching at the top middle of my inside cove (above)r, so I can use them as bookmarks.

Finished selvedge strip composition book cover by Judy Gula of Artistic Artifacts

Above is my completed selvedge strip composition book cover!

Another version: binder cover with Angelina embellishments

And here’s the same concept, except that this time for my cover I used a single piece of fabric for the cover (from my stash; it’s printed to look like marbled squares placed side by side). I embellished this with retangles of Angelina and free motion stitching in curves and circles. I used a recycled binder for my inside.

Inside view of binder cover with Angelina -- sleeves were created wider

Notice with this version the sleeve covers more of the notebook than the previous one did. The edges for this one were satin-stitched all the way around using black thread.

I hope this tutorial inspires you…this project offers lots of design possibilities!

Guest Blogger Lisa Chin Visits Artistic Artifacts

In September the talented textile artist Lisa Chin, a fellow member of the Printed Fabric Bee, visited Artistic Artifacts for the first time. She wrote the nicest blog post about her visit — and she is serving as as a guest blogger and letting us reprint it for us below! I love the beautiful photographs she took — thank you Lisa! (With the gorgeous fall color we’re experiencing, take a look at her website’s tutorial Gelli Plate Printing with Leaves and create a permanent memory!)

A Tour of Artistic Artifacts Brick and Mortar Store, Alexandria VA

by guest blogger Lisa Chin

[Recently] while I was in DC, I stopped at Artistic Artifacts. Artistic Artifacts is a quilt/mixed media shop and it was HEAVENLY! I got there a little late in the day and really didn’t have the time to inspect everything closely. I know I will be returning when I am in the DC area. Let me give you a little tour of the shop:

Panorama shot from the front of the shop.

Beautiful batiks.

Gorgeous papers.

I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t buy some of Seth Apter’s stamps.

I don’t know if the sewing machines are for sale or just for show but I LOVE them!

Lots and lots of beautiful paints.

I bought a nice selection to try out.

These cigar boxes remind me of my grandfather.

Folding yardsticks!

Lovely vintage photos to include in your art work.

LOTS and LOTS of Tjaps for batiking or enjoying.

And a great big wall of stencils.

And this is just a small part of the shop. I didn’t take photos of the wall of beautiful fabrics, the racks of vintage papers, game pieces, game boards, threads, dyed linens and so much more!

If you are ever in the DC area make sure you make time to travel the short distance to Alexandria and see Artistic Artifacts. If you don’t have a car, you can take the Blue line on the Metro to the Van Dorn St. stop and walk the 3/4 of a mile down Eisenhower Avenue to the shop, which is what I did!

Stenciled Art Journal Pages

For the last couple years I have committed to creating a blog post at least once a week, so it is a regularly scheduled (and predictable) task. But still every week I struggle to get it done in a timely manner! There’s always something…this week I began cleaning off my work table on Sunday evening… continued all day Monday… and finally by Tuesday evening I had room to work on my project to document for the blog.

Part of my clean up/organizing session was to take all of my small 6" x 6" size stencils (on sale this week!) and place them in an old photo album — remember the kind with the ‘magnetic’ pages? We know now not to damage our photographs using these, but they can make great organizers for stencils!

Organizing stencils in an old photo album

I placed two stencils per page. It remains to be seen if they will be returned to their place in the album after use. Anyway, on to the meat and potatoes of this posting! I wanted to illustrate create a two-page spread in an art journal so that the backgrounds connect.

I have several pages already painted in my stash. Remember to pull out your art journal or loose pages as you finish up any painting project: use them to get the excess paint off your brushes or applicators, rather than washing all that color down the drain.

Stencil atop two aligned pages

Above, I have aligned two loose pages together, and then placed a large 12" x 12" stencil so that it the design will appear (asymmetrically) on both pages. Notice off to the side the Colorbox stylus (black handle) with a small foam tip on the top. This is the tool that I use to apply my paint through the stencil, using in soft rotating circular motions. (The Artistic Artifacts website sells the Colorbox stylus handles and reusable foam tips.)

I do spray my stencils using 404 Spray and Fix Repositionable Craft Adhesive, and I have an important tip for you: let the sprayed stencil air-dry before placing it on your journal page. If you don’t, it will stick! (Ask me how I know.)

Silver paint applied through stencil

Above, inset, I have applied a silver metallic through the stencil, and the result once the stencil is picked up.

Take paint off your stir stick -- no waste!

Above, I have placed a portion of a different stencil so that it is positioned off the page. This gives the design some movement and a natural look. This photo also shows another way I save paint: I used the wooden tongue depressor to stir my paint up, and am taking the paint left on depressor up with my stylus tool to apply it.

Using more than one stencil, and moving it around

Above, one page completed with several colors of paint, and after moving the stencil around several times.

Beginning the other page of the spread

Working on the second sheet of this spread, I positioned the entire TCW522 – Rock Crystals stencil down on the page. After painting (above), I thought it looked a little bare at the top, so I moved the stencil around again, resulting in the below. Better balanced, wouldn’t you agree?

Moved the stencil to fill in a blank area

Below, the background stenciling and painting of this spread is completed. There is cohesion between the two pages, and the pages are now ready for me to continue on, adding photos, drawings, ephemera and more.

stenciled/painted background spread completed

P.S. If you were wondering…when I have the time to work on pages for the round robin art journal that is currently goining on through JAMs, but don’t have a journal in my possession, I work on a spread of two loose pages. That way when time is at a premium, I only need to glue in the completed pages.

Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Creativity

Earlier this week on our Facebook page, we posted a link to Why Quilting Improves Your Health in Ways Even Exercise Can’t Manage, a health study extolling the benefits of quilting (they also refer to other creative endeavors and hobbies) and creativity.

“The University of Glasgow team concluded that all hobbies — ‘from reading to train spotting’ — should be looked at for their mental and physical benefits. They interviewed quilters and found the activity helped their cognitive, creative and emotional well-being, particularly among older people. The use of bright colours was ‘uplifting’, the activity distracted from the stress of work, and quilting offered challenges such as maths and geometry. It also increased confidence and had an important social side. Professor Jacqueline Atkinson, co-author of the study and a quilter herself for five decades, said: ‘Doing something that engages you and that you enjoy is key. As adults, we don’t often do enough that includes fun and play.”

With a Little Help From My Friends, art quilt by Judy Gula

Interviews of quilters found that the hobby “helped their cognitive, creative and emotional well-being…[that] the use of bright colors was ‘uplifting,’ the activity distracted from the stress of work, and … offered challenges such as maths and geometry. It also increased confidence and had an important social side.”

As I have transitioned to my “Dream” business of Artistic Artifacts, I find that my time to create is very limited. If I continue to let the paperwork control my life, the “dream” business will turn into the nightmare. I have to schedule time to create, make sure I touch some fiber and have a portable project. I get cranky, and more, if I ignore these things.

The quilting world specifically has broadened my circle of friends across the country, and the support, encouragement and exchange of information between members in this community of artist business has been unmatched in any other industry I have worked in (and there have been several)! That quilting keeps me healthy can only be enforced by the care of my friends. I created the quilt pictured here for Donna DeSoto’s Inspired by the Beatles: An Art Quilt Challenge, choosing the song titled A Little Help From my Friends. It illustrates how important creativity and friendships are to me.

Fiber art by Kathlyn “Kat” Avila-Reyes

In this blog posing I’m sharing some thoughts from creative friends about the study’s findings, and we’d love to know what you think too — leave us a comment below, or email us, especially if you’re including a photo of your art (please do, and let us know if we can share it). Comments or emails received by Monday, August 3, 2015 will be eligible for a random prize drawing: I’m putting together a little surprise creativity project starter package! (See our followup post for more thoughts and photos too!)

Fiber art by Kathlyn “Kat” Avila-Reyes

Kathlyn “Kat” Avila-Reyes (art quilts pictured here) is an amazing artist! She says, “I’ve always enjoyed gathering, touching, and placing bits and pieces of fabric together; it’s cathartic! I especially love vintage fabrics that have come from an old dress or blouse…every small scrap of fabric holds a memory, it’s a small treasure with a lineage of times gone by.

“Placing each little piece together is like a puzzle of goodness, of ‘I remember when….’ or an imaginative time of dolls, tea parties, and aunties stitching hems. I get totally lost in the stories my fabrics tell, they are as comforting as a grandmother’s hand and hot tea on a cold night. What can get any better than that?”

Diane Herbort’s art quilt Reverie

Fiber and mixed media artist, author and teacher Diane Herbort thinks that one big benefit to being involved in quilting and other types of fiber arts is “I always have something to look forward to. It is an incentive to get all the ‘regular’ work done. You could say it is the nice colorful carrot dangling from the stick that is the drudgery of life and work.”

Creating as a form of motivation…I can get behind that concept! Diane’s art quilt Reverie is pictured here, consisting of painted and printed paper, cotton fabrics and metallic trims and machine stitching (click photo for a larger view). Visit Diane’s website for more of her lovely work.

“I believe friendships are formed through shared experiences,” writes Cyndi Zacheis Souder of Moonlighting Quilts. “The friends I’ve made through quilting are the core of my social circle. I care about them, I rely on them, I treasure them.

Memories by Cyndi Souder, Moonlighting Quilts

When I lost my sister to ovarian cancer, my quilting friends kept me afloat. When I need opinions, help, or good conversations, they are there. They are my tribe. I would not have found these amazing friends if we did not have quilting in common.”

Pictured here is a celebration quilt Cyndi created, a portrait of her sister Vicki that is titled Memories.

On Saturday, August 8, 2015 Cyndi will be teaching Designing Meaningful Memory Quilts at our shop, where you can learn to draft an original quilt design that pays tribute to the memories of the original owners of treasured linens, clothes, photographs, etc.

“The happy dance I do when my quilt project
is coming together is far more beneficial than
the exercise tapes gathering dust on my shelf.”

The above quote is from Chris Vinh of StitchesnQuilts. Okay, so now who out there is going to cross-stitch that into a sampler for me?

Chris does amazing quilting and fiber art — visit her Etsy site to view. Shown here is a quilting and beaded batik panel by Mahyar. Chris has created so many beautiful samples for me to display in the shop and show off how creatively these materials can be used.

Kaleidescope of Colors, first prize, group quilts, 2015 Quilt Odyssey

“Art has a great effect on my mental, spiritual and physical health,” writes Etta Stewart. “I have learned that I need that time each day to focus on something other than daily living, and the other is to take myself on an art date.

“Last week, my art date happened to be going to Quilt Odyssey with friends. I wanted to share the experience of seeing our Blue ribbon with other quilter friends.” (Etta and her friends won First Place in the Group Quilt category for Kaleidoscope of Colors, pictured above; detail below.)

Detail, Kaleidescope of Colors, first prize, group quilts, 2015 Quilt Odyssey

Etta shared that she and her friends spent a total of seven hours at the quilt show, between viewing the quilts and perusing the merchants mall. Obviously that counts as physical exercise too! Visit Etta’s Pinterest boards to see some of the many ways she fills her creative well.

“Managing stress isn’t always easy for me,” shares Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution. “First born, over achiever, go, go goer that sort of says it all. The best medicine I have found is what I call Stitch Meditations. I tried for years to do ‘real’ meditation. It just never took and I always felt like I was doing it wrong. But, I knew I needed a stress reducer that was simple and didn’t take much time to do. I love both machine and hand stitching and I find both very relaxing. However the tactile nature of hand stitch won over and I started creating simple small collages using only hand stitch.”

Stitch Meditation by Liz Kettle of Textile Evolution

One of Liz’ stitch meditations is pictured here — visit her website gallery to see many more. “These meditations are really important to my mental health not only because I slow down and enjoy the meditation,” says Liz, “but they give me a sense of connection to my art on a daily basis…even when life has me otherwise occupied.”

NiYa Costley, a friend from Judy’s Altered Minds, (JAMs) notes that “I can’t quilt when I am upset — spend too much time with the seam ripper if I do. I can crochet though. Get lots done because I move even faster than normal when I am upset….and it does serve to calm my nerves.” Pictured here is some of her beautiful crochet work.

Crochet by Niya Costley

“I also will do Zentangle as a way to calm and allow my mind to freely roam,” says NiYa, who feels that her membership in JAMS has allowed her “to meet new artists who do different kind of things that I had never considered before, like Kinetic Quilting, and entering juried shows like the recent Mixed Media show at Del Ray Artisans Gallery.”

Read our followup post for more thoughts and photographs from our Creative Minds.